[Linux-aus] Re: [LACTTE] Constitution Version 6 - Last one!

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Wed Jan 7 16:25:02 UTC 2004

On Wed, 7 Jan 2004, Stewart Smith wrote:

> > What is the justification for this "honorary lifetime membership"? What 
> > are the criteria? Whys hould some be able to obtain it and not ebveryone 
> > be automatically eligible for the same benefits?
> It is a form of recognition for substantial contribution to the
> organisation - MANY orgs have this - hell, even universities do -
> honorary diploma's and all that.
> It's a *great* way of saying "thanks" for people's voluntary work - it's
> the constitutional equivilent of lots of "rock on" mails.
> > 
> > Does that not make Linux Australia, a class society, like the cast 
> > system in India, or the English class system?
> no - this comparison is utter crap.

Okay; how do you stop the political aspects - committee members saying 
"he is a mate of mine - lets give him a HLM (Honorary Lifetime 
Membership) - I don't like that one, lets not give her an HLM"?

And, who is to assess who is deserving and who is not, and, using what 

Would it be the person(s) who make the most noise about what they do, or 
the people about whom no-one hears anything of what they do?

I am reminded of an issue regarding the awarding of VC's in the second 
world war - from memory, only one VC was awarded to a maori, and, that 
was posthumous, and yet, apparently, the maori battalionm was feared by 
both sides, and did a heap of damage to the enemy. But, they were the 
maori, and not worth VC's, or so it appeared.

In the case of Linux Australia, if the committee do not like, or do not 
know, a person who has made a massive contribution, would that person 
receive the same prestige, as a mate of the committee, or of 
high-profile committee members? And, what criteria would be used, and, 
where would the line(s) be drawn?

Here in WA, we have (or had) a man, who came from the deep jungles of 
Africa, after (I think) helping with getting a Linux-based 
communications network using ham radioes in Africa (or something like 
that); whe have the couple who are heavily involved in Computer Angels, 
we have some investigating the .NET alternatives as open source 
alternatives to displace .NET, etc. We have people running ISP's, who 
are providing a linux-friendly environment for people accessing the 
Internet. We have manypeople who provide lots of free Linux support to 
locals. We have many people who use much of their spare time helping 
others, regarding Linux. We have those who try (unsuccessfully - due to 
lack of response and cohesion) to get Linux involvement in local 
computer expo's.

Many people make quite worthwhile contributions, and, use much of their 
time, for the benefit of others.

So, who is going to say who should, and who should not, get one of these 
HLM awards, and, using what criteria?

In the end, it will be like parliament and the feral awards - perks for 
mates of those in power, with nothing for those who quietly go on, 
helping others and making their contributions.

We will have a ruling elite - an upper class in the Australian Linux 
community, with these HLM's - perks for mates of the committee. - No 
question about it.

> > Hence, once again, it appears that Linux Australia is only an 
> > association of attendees at the annual conference.
> no - you can go apply via the web interface and have your membership
> approved without going to the conf - already lots of people have done
> this.
> http://www.linux.org.au/membership/
> > The whole issue of membership needs resolving, if Linux Australia is to 
> > be more than just an association of attendees at the annual conference.
> In case you hadn't noticed - we've been working on this for a *long*
> time. Read the proposed constitution changes - understand them, look at
> our meeting minutes, look at the membershipdb code, look at the mails
> about membership, hell - you can even SIGN UP AND GET MEMBERSHIP NOW!!!
> it'll probably even get approved by the end of the day - maybe in a few
> hours, or minutes! wow! what else could anybody *possibly* want -
> flashing lights on the signup page? Well, i'll be happy to reject those
> patches - only nice things accepted :)

Okay, and, what voting rights, do people not at the conference have? Can 
people not at the conference, become committee members, or 
office-bearers? What can people who are not at the conference, do, that 
they cannot do, if they are not members? Can they particpate in debates 
at the SGM and AGM?

What does being a member, mean, and, what does it mean for both members 
who attend the conference, and, for members who do not attend the 

I believe that, about a year ago, I had suggested that Linux Australia 
start using the Internet, and, that less reliance on physical presence 
should be needed. I had given examples of how it could be achieved, 
to allow people from all over the country, as long as they had 
Internet access, to participate. That appears to have gone by the 
wayside, as the committee could have more power, by requiring physical 
presence. And, of course, to further use the desire for participation in 
Linux Australia, as an inducement to attend the annual Linux 

Why can't the SGM and the AGM, all be conducted, via the Internet? Why 
can't the elections, be performed, via the Internet?

We are not atlking about a bunch of computer illiterates, here, we are 
talking about a groupd of people who are supposed to be computing 
guru's, who apparently are unable to come to terms with the Internet 
and its postential.

I have yet to see how membership of the organisation, is not still 
conference based, due to the physical presence at the conference, being 
required, for active participation in the operation of the organisation.

> > > 	- Change 23; is unneccessary, Common/Company seals are no longer
> > > 	  required for companies or associations in NSW (they are
> > > 	  optional).
> > > 
> > 
> > Does this by context mean that Linux Australia is NSW, and not federal? 
> > Is that correct; that Linux Australia is not a federal body, but is a 
> > body only of NSW, and therefore only subject to law in NSW?
> Again, the documentation on this is online and freely available to ALL.
> LA is registered in NSW - AFAIK you have to be registered in one state,
> and this is where people who started it came from , and where pres,
> secretary and treasurer reside - so it's a sane choice. It means we are
> subject to NSW corp law.
> An no, we're not a NSW org - i thought that would be pretty clear by now
> - just like all those other companies registered/based in NSW aren't NSW
> only.

Yeah, sure; it's like the VFL pretending to be a federal organisation, 
called the AFL. Still a victorian organisation. Though, I think the VFL 
has relented, and allowed some games to be played outside victoria, now, 
due to increasing restlessness of other states' teams in the VFL (oops 
- afl).

So, is there a conclusive and definitive answer (you say, "AFAIK - you 
have to be registered in one state") - is a federal, and, only federal 
registration of such an organisation, possible? If so, why isn't the 
organisation, so registered? If such registration is not available, what 
has the organisation done, to try to get single, federal, registration 
of non-profit, incorporated organisations? Is this federation really so 
inept and dysfunctional, as to not provide for federally registered, 
federally incorporated, non-profit organisations, which provision would 
allow for "national" organisations?

And, what happens, for example, if a WA member has an issue about the 
operation of the organisation? Does the WA member just have to accept 
that there is no control over the organisation, except in NSW, and, 
therefore, only those in NSW, have any control over the organisation, 
making the organisation, in fact, a NSW organisation?

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
  Chapter 28 of 
  "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
  A Trilogy In Four Parts",
  written by Douglas Adams, 
  published by Pan Books, 1992 

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